Nelson A. Rockefeller's Office of Inter- American Affairs (1940-46)
This volume revisits one of the major efforts undertaken by the United States government to manage public opinion both at home and abroad. In 1940, as Nazi Germany was subjugating ever greater territories in Europe and beyond, the U.S. government sought to secure Latin America’s allegiance and assistance in the upcoming war. Through a newly established emergency agency, Nelson A. Rockefeller’s Office of Inter-American Affairs (OIAA), it underwrote a wide array of programs that were meant to mobilize public opinion in Latin America and the United States with a view to improve inter- American cooperation and understanding.
William H. Beezley, University of Arizona:
Gisela Cramer and Ursula Prutsch, as editors, have assembled an outstanding collection of essays on the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. Each of the eight contributors provides new information and significant analysis of the Rockefeller office, its imaginative use of the mass media contributing to changing views of Pan-Americanism, hemispheric popular culture, and “soft” diplomacy, with specific evaluation of movies, documentaries, and radio, as only three examples. This volume fills a major gap in the historiography by examining this agency as the nexus between the U.S. Good Neighbor policy and its Cold War cultural diplomacy, but above all as a major U.S. cultural agency and its interaction with the peoples of Latin America.
Gisela Cramer is Associate Professor of History at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá. She has published on topics related to the political economy of Latin America and the history of inter-American relations during the 20th century. She is currently working on U.S. public diplomacy and propaganda during World War II.
Ursula Prutsch is Associate Professor at the University of Munich where she teaches Inter-American Relations. Her previous research focused on Austrian and Central European emigration to Latin America, on nation- building processes in Brazil and Argentina, as well as on the OIAA.